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Connecting Communities 2022

Our annual free Connecting Communities Conference is here. It’s a time to bring a range of good practices and thoughts together to talk about volunteering across the county.
This year’s theme is ‘Moving Forward’ and looks at new strategies, ways of using marketing to recruit and the legal side of volunteer management. All conference events are free to access for all Cambridgeshire groups, thanks to the funding received from Cambridgeshire County Council and Huntingdonshire District Council.

 

 

Vision for Volunteering

Tuesday 14th June // 10:00 – 11:30 am // Zoom

This event is about the England strategy ‘Vision for Volunteering’, which several partner national volunteer infrastructure bodies have co-written. It is intended to influence national policy on volunteering for the next 10 years. An accompanying website will be launched on 6th May. Gethyn Williams from Sport England will be discussing how this national strategy affects community charities and groups in Cambridgeshire—followed by questions from the floor.

To Book CLICK HERE

 

Attracting Supporters and Followers

Wednesday 15th June // Face to Face

 Fenland: March Community Centre, 34 Station Rd, March PE15 8LE

10:00 am – 1:00 pm – including networking light lunch

Huntingdon: The Maple Centre, Oak Dr, Huntingdon PE29 7HN

12:00 pm – 3:00 pm – including a networking light lunch

 

On Wednesday, we will be running two training sessions in person in two separate places across the county. Attracting Supporters and Followers will be delivered by Christine from CCVS and Kathryn from Hunts Forums. It brings good practice with practical skills, helping organisations identify and recruit the right people for their organisation.

To book the Fenland workshop CLICK HERE

To book the Huntingdon workshop CLICK HERE

 

Volunteering and the Law

Thursday 16th June // 10:00- 11:30 pm // Zoom

Finally, we end the conference on Thursday with a speaker from Bates Wells LLP, presenting on the legal aspects of volunteer recruitment and retainment. The talk will cover key issues, including avoiding contracts, equality law and how to deal with perks and expenses.

This presentation will be followed by a VCSE Q&A session.

All questions must be submitted before the event, and we cannot guarantee they will be answered. Questions must be general as we are unable to supply legal advice.

To Book CLICK HERE

 

 

The three-day event aims to bring ideas, thoughts and even more good practice to Cambridgeshire, giving those working with volunteers the confidence to face the challenges following the pandemic. We are excited for you to join us.

Support Fenland: Capturing the Views of Council Officers

By Ben Pitt

The Support Fenland project starts in earnest with a round-table discussion with council officers about what the voluntary and community sector needs to help it flourish.

Many people see “the council” as a single organisation that does things like parks and bins, but the reality is that Cambridgeshire has four tiers of local government – parish and town councils, district councils, the county council and the combined authority. Each has its own areas of responsibility but they all take an interest in keeping residents healthy and happy. Building strong communities is a vital part of that.

While the elected councillors or Mayor might be the most visible side of local councils, the bulk of work is carried out by council staff. They include dedicated teams at Fenland District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council to support communities. Meanwhile, parish and town councils often have the closest links with the people in their town or village, and much of the work of the parish or town clerk is to respond to the specific needs of their residents. This often goes hand in hand with the activities of local community and voluntary groups.

At Hunts Forum and CCVS we want to ensure that our work in Fenland responds directly to the specific needs of the district. That’s why we started by talking to the council officers who work with residents on a daily basis. We were delighted to be joined by the community development teams from Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council, the clerks from Wisbech, Chatteris and Christchurch plus our friends at Living Sport and Cambridgeshire ACRE.

We started by asking what the communities of Fenland need from infrastructure organisations, and what the barriers were to accessing that support. Lots of answers came back. Some were practical, such as support with business planning and funding applications for new projects, a volunteer database and peer networking opportunities. Others were more strategic, such as umbrella organisations with the governance in place to hold funds, thereby allowing volunteers with a good idea to focus on delivering it.

Some points were more philosophical. How can we make volunteering a more ‘normal’ thing to do? How do we empower residents to feel that it’s their right to shape their community, rather than their burden? How do we give communities the confidence to seize opportunities?

Finally, we reflected on what infrastructure organisations and councils need to do to ensure that the voices of our communities are heard. The simple answer was to ask them, but there was also a recognition that communities need a reason to want to have that conversation.

We need to ensure that the various people whose job it is to support communities work together effectively, and that the Support Fenland project has a legacy. Too often, people and solutions are parachuted in and make a few ripples, but afterwards things fall back to the way they were before. Our challenge is to change the culture of volunteering and community action in Fenland for the better.

We’re looking forward to talking to the community activists to find out what their perspective is.


The graphics below capture the views expressed during the discussion. Click them to view full screen.

 

 

 

Ask Me Community Ambassador Scheme

[Republished from www.cambridgewa.org.uk]

People within a survivor’s community are often the first to know that domestic abuse is happening. But lack of understanding and confidence can make people afraid to talk about it, and unsure of how to respond when someone speaks out. Survivors have told us they can feel judged, silenced or isolated by the people around them.

We are changing that through the Change That Lasts Ask Me scheme, developed in partnership between Women’s Aid Federation England and Welsh Women’s Aid.

The project is a simple initiative that equips community members in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with an understanding of domestic abuse and how to respond to survivors. This knowledge will enable the community to play an active role in ending domestic abuse.

Being a Change That Lasts Community Ambassador

We offer free 12 hour training courses to members of the local community from all backgrounds and identities where they learn about domestic abuse, including its gendered nature, how to challenge the stereotypes surrounding it and how to listen to, believe and direct survivors to specialist support.

Anyone with a connection to Cambridgeshire and/or Peterborough can become an Ask Me ambassador, whether you have been personally affected by domestic abuse or whether you would like to learn more.

After the training, ambassadors are given resources and support to share what they have learned with those around them in ways that feel most comfortable to them. They are encouraged to start conversations about domestic abuse that will help others to better understand the barriers that survivors face in speaking out. An ambassador can commit as much or as little time as they can give.

We keep in touch with Community Ambassadors with new opportunities and events such as ambassador meet-ups, campaign involvement and volunteering. We also send short surveys to find out how they are getting on and how we can support them further.

A Community Ambassador…

… believes in equality of all people, regardless of their gender identity, age, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, cultural beliefs or circumstances.

… listens and believes others that share their personal experiences of domestic abuse.

… is non-judgmental and respectful.

… is passionate about ending domestic abuse.

There is a chance that we may decide that it isn’t appropriate for a person to take on the role if they don’t share these values and qualities. We will work with people to overcome any barriers wherever possible, or we will direct you to a more suitable volunteering or training opportunity.

Interested? Join the Scheme

If you would like to take part, please register your interest through the online form here: REGISTER INTEREST FORM

People Powered: Follow-up information

Links, contacts and further reading for the People Powered conference, 19 April 2018

The People Powered conference was co-hosted by Living Sport and Hunts Forum, and funded by Huntingdonshire District Council.

Training

Click here for the upcoming training workshops hosted by Support Cambridgeshire and its partner organisations, Hunts Forum and Cambridge CVS. Most training is free for Hunts Forum and CCVS members. See CCVS’s full programme of training for volunteer managers here, and further resources here.

National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)

Our keynote speaker was Shaun Delaney, Volunteering Development Manager at NCVO. They champion the voluntary sector by connecting, representing and supporting voluntary organisations, and work to help voluntary organisations and volunteers make the biggest difference they can. Find out more here.

Read the NCVO Getting Involved 2017 report here. This includes lots of fascinating statistics on who, where, why and how people volunteer in the UK.

Recruiting volunteers

This workshop was led by Keith Smith, Founder & Director of Ferry Project.

The Do-it website connects volunteers with volunteering opportunities, based on location, availability and activity type.

Read NCVO’s guide to recruiting volunteers here.

Supporting volunteers

This workshop was led by Mark Strivens, Director, Street Pastors Cambridge.

Read the Charity Commission’s advice on managing risks here.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s guidance on adult safeguarding is here, with a straightforward introduction here.

Model policies for volunteering (including recruitment, volunteer agreement and complaints policies) are available here.

NCVO’s guide to managing and retaining volunteers is here and includes a section on dealing with problems or issues with volunteers.

Rewarding volunteers

This workshop was led by Susie Willis, Chief Executive Officer, Care Network.

See the flip-chart notes from the conference here.

NCVO’s guide to managing and retaining volunteers is here and includes a section on recognition and reward.

Find out about Cambridgeshire’s Spice Credits volunteer reward scheme.

Find out more about Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) here.

Micro-volunteering

This workshop was led by Lucy Bird, Somersham and Pidley Time Bank Coordinator.

Read Support Cambridgeshire’s introduction to Time Banks here.

Read NCVO’s guide to micro-volunteering here.

Living Sport

Our final speaker was Rebecca Evans, Relationship Manager at Living Sport.

Here’s what people are saying about People Powered:

It reinforced the importance of keeping in contact with our wonderful volunteers. Brilliant workshops with lots of ideas to use.

Good crowd, and an excellent keynote speaker. 

Excellent insight provided into how to recruit volunteers.

We had an enjoyable & interesting day. No matter how much one has learnt over the years, there is always more to learn!